Beginning October 1, 2013, new Medicare requirements will require a physician to sign and document that a face-toface visit has taken place within the previous 6 months before durable medical equipment can be ordered.
Currently nurse practitioners (and physician assistants) manage this for their patients. The consequences of this will increase cost as well as creating a significant delay and potentially unsafe delay in obtaining needed equipment for our patients.
This affects ALL of our practices and all of our Medicare patients. It is critical that nurse practitioners and physician assistants get involved and contact their Senators and Representatives now. This requirement is unnecessary. Both NPs and PAs already order home glucose monitors, oxygen, nebulizers, basic wheelchairs, hospital beds and more. More on which equipment is included can be found here.
While it’s understandable that DME fraud be reduced, the fact that NPs and PAs already assess and treat our patients and are perfectly capable of ordering supplies for patients we know seems to have escaped those who wrote these rules.
Barbara C. Phillips, NP, FAANP is a professional speaker, author, clinician and business owner who provides business education, resources and support to Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants and other Advance Practice Clinicians — both for the employed and self-employed clinician. Additional information about Ms. Phillips is available at www.BarbaraCPhillips.com.